Cover reveal: Two new books coming over the next three weeks



I’ve told you about Echoes, my new Lei Crime Kindle World mystery featuring FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm. This full-length novel appears on May 12, and I think it’s my best mystery, yet.

But two weeks before then, one week from today, on Thursday, April 27, a new Sydney Rye Kindle World adventure launches, too: The Three-Way, featuring your favourite, scruffiest, most irresistible and stubbornly independent secret agent, Van Freeman, along with his mysterious, ingenious partner, Earl LeBrun—the characters I introduced in Jet: Stealth, and featured again in The Wife Line.

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In The Three-Way, Van and LeBrun take on Daesh, also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.  Van, as usual, gets himself in way over his head. How he gets out has delighted beta readers so far.

Characters from the Sydney Rye universe created by Emily Kimelman include the smooth businessman and all-round enigma, Robert Maxim, as well as the Kurdish woman warrior from The Girl with the Gun, Mujada Taib.

Here’s a short sample

Chapter 2: Meet Van Freeman

Van swallowed the last of his espresso when he heard a voice that exuded confidence bordering on condescension. “Well, if it isn’t Van Freeman.” 

Deep, assured, relaxed. Van twisted toward the back of the café, nearly falling out of his chair. A tall man who looked to be in his late fifties sat in a chair against the wall. He leaned back, one ankle on the other knee, a hand on his raised thigh and his other holding an espresso cup. He had short brown hair, cut expensively, with silver at the temples. He wore dark travelling pants, a khaki-colored shirt and a light grey blazer that appeared to be poured onto him. 

Who is this guy? He wasn’t sitting there when I sat down. How did he get in without my noticing? Van thought. 

“Heyyy,” he said, smiling broadly. “Wow. It must be … How long since we’ve seen each other? And what brings you … Here, of all places?” He felt a tingle as the short hairs on the back of his neck stood up. He controlled his breathing and kept smiling. Without moving his eyes from the strange man, he scanned the room with his peripheral vision, looking for other threats, possible allies of the strange man and fastest escape route.  

“Relax, kid,” the stranger said, gesturing toward the chair across the table from him. “You’ve never met me, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your memory.” 

Van moved so the table was between them. “Then how do you know my name?” 

“You stand out, especially here: a six-foot surfer dude with blond hair past his shoulders, and no beard. You’re hard to miss.” 

“That doesn’t explain how you know who I am.” 

“I read the report that Sydney Rye wrote.” 

Van’s chest tightened. He breathed out slowly. “Sydney wrote a report about me?” 

I have several people to thank for helping me get this book out so fast: my wife, Roxanne, for putting up with long silences as I wrote this furiously over a month; my elder son, Evan, for inspiring the character of Van and polishing his dialogue so it seems more realistic for a Millennial; Roger Eschbacher, Gary Henry and Joy Lorton for advice, insight, editing and proofreading; and Emily Kimelman for inviting me to the Sydney Rye Kindle World, and for creating the characters of Sydney, her dog, Blue, Bobby Maxim and Mujada Taib.

If you’re willing to leave a review on the Amazon page on release day, email me at contact@writtenword.ca and I’ll send you an advance review copy.

 

 

Independent book review: Smoke Road



Scorch Series Romance Thriller Book 3

By Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman

Luca Luciano is a jerk.

The books of the Scorch Road series are gripping, fast-paced page turners that will thrill, scare, arouse and thoroughly entertain you.

Smoke Road is the third volume in the new Scorch Road, six-book series being launched at a rate of a book a month by co-authors Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman. Both best-selling authors in their own right, teamed to write a six-volume series, releasing them at about three-week intervals.

The books I have read so far in the series follow a pattern. Each one has two main characters: one of the six Luciano brothers from South Philly, and a strong woman he meets. Together, they have to fight their way through the chaos unleashed by the Scorch Flu, a pandemic that kills 90 percent of those infected. Along the way, they gather clues about the source of the virus and a deep conspiracy that caused it.

Smoke Road’s male protagonist is Luca, the eldest Luciano brother. He’s the “alpha male,” a former Special Forces member built like a superhero.
The female lead is Dr. Haunani Kegawa, a medical researcher and advisor to the U.S. national security establishment who has found intelligence about the source of the Scorch Flu: a neo-Nazi skinhead group in Texas who has stolen a virus developed by the government and dispersed it across the country.

The plot of the whole series follows the well-established apocalypse scenario. As most of the country falls sick and dies, society and government fall apart. Gangs loot towns. Communities are reduced to scavengers, pirates, raiders or slaves. Think The Walking Dead, without zombies.

Dr. Kagawa is charged with finding the skinhead neo-Nazis responsible for the calamity, and given a unit of National Guardsmen to help her—the only military force close to the enemy that has not succumbed to the flu—which includes Luca Luciano.

As soon as he meets Dr. Kagawa, they’re irresistibly attracted to each other. This is where Luca becomes a jerk

Luca has deep-seated issues. He doesn’t trust any women. He uses them for his own pleasure—and to be fair, many use him for theirs. He’s a hunk’s hunk. But he believes all women are devious.

Dr. Kagawa is anything but. She’s clearly drawn on Toby Neal’s main character, Lei Texeira: she’s part Hawaiian, part Japanese; she has baggage stemming from a bad, nearly abusive past relationship; and she carries a piece of beach glass in her pocket at all times, which she holds and rubs to allay anxiety. This is a direct carry-over from Lei Texeira.

The story is basically a love story, with the pandemic apocalypse a setting. Luca and Nani are drawn together by circumstance and biology, and their personalities are just similar enough that they clash repeatedly. They drive each other crazy in many ways.

Like reality, it’s the man who’s wrong.

Toby Neal

Toby Neal

Emily-author-photo

Emily Kimelman

It’s frightening to me just how well women can read men’s minds.

This book is compelling and exciting, full of action, suspense and hot sex scenes. It’s a true mark of a writer’s skill to be able to write hot sex scenes without coming off as either pornographic or silly.

Well done, Toby and Emily. You’ve done what every writer strives to do: make a nightmare fantasy completely believable.

5*

A new book walks closer



Cover-WOOW-500x800 (1)Walking Out of War, the third book in the true-story trilogy about Maurice Bury, the Canadian in the Soviet Red Army in World War two, launches in two days. I’m excited. It’s already received three excellent early reviews that you can read on Goodreads. and I’m giving you another free taste of what’s coming.

There are going to be several special online events on and around launch day:

  • Army of Worn Soles, the first book of the trilogy, is FREE on Amazon from February 21 to 25.
  • Under the Nazi Heel, the second book, is on sale at 99 cents for the same period.
  • launch event on Facebook will feature giveaways of electronic and print books from the trilogy as well as other works.
  • A blog tour will feature excerpts and images from Walking Out of War. Watch this space for details and links.

And now, your taste of Walking Out of War:

Donbass, summer 1944

“How did you learn to break down a rifle so quickly?” the drill sergeant asked.

“I grew up on a farm,” Maurice answered. “You have to have a gun on a farm.”

“A shotgun, yes. Not an automatic rifle. I come from a farm, too,” said the drill sergeant. He was a small man with a round face and earnest brown eyes.

Maurice shrugged, hoping the sergeant would not hear his hammering heart. “I guess I’m just a fast learner.”

The sergeant’s eyes narrowed, but he moved on to the boy beside Maurice, who was fumbling with his weapon. “Get that magazine back together in the next sixty seconds or you’re on double guard duty tonight!”

I have to be more clumsy. And more careful, at the same time, Maurice thought.

Compared to his experience as an officer three years earlier, this training camp for soldiers was brutal. In August 1944, the Red Army had reached the outskirts of Warsaw and was within sight of the Gulf of Riga. They had pushed the Germans out of Russia, Ukraine and Belorussia and were throwing every man they could find into the drive to destroy Hitler’s Germany.

In June, the Red Army had launched Operation Bagration. Two million men, thousands of tanks, heavy assault guns and airplanes, attacked in a coordinated series of attacks along a front that stretched from Estonia to Romania, accompanied by 220,000 trucks from the U.S., with tanks and guns from Britain, tonnes and tonnes of food and ammunition from the West. In two months, they pushed the Germans out of Belorussia.

The Soviets annihilated the German Army Group Center. Hundreds of thousands of German soldiers were killed, wounded and captured, including thirty-one generals—a quarter of the German strength on the Eastern Front gone in two months.

The Red Army’s losses, while not as severe, were still huge: 800,000 casualties, including over 180,000 killed and missing.

What Walking Out of War is all about

Ukraine, 1944: After the Soviets burned the Ukrainian city of Ternopyl to the ground to crush the stubborn Nazi occupiers, they rounded up every remaining Ukrainian man around for the Red Army’s final push on Germany. Maurice Bury, Canadian citizen, Ukrainian resistance fighter and intelligence officer, is thrust once again into the death struggle between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s USSR.

Fighting across the Baltics in the autumn of 1944 is tough and bloody. Then the Red Army enters Germany, where they’re no longer liberators—they’re the long-feared Communist horde, bent on destruction, rape and revenge. The Communists are determined to wipe Nazism from the face of the earth. And the soldiers want revenge for Germany’s brutal invasion and occupation.

Maurice has determined his only way out of this hell is to survive until Nazi Germany dies, and then move home to Canada. But to do that, he’ll have to not only walk out of war, but elude Stalin’s dreaded secret police.

What the early reviewers are saying 

“Full of heart and indomitable spirit”—Joy Lorton 

Walking Out of War is a well-written and powerful read, and a difficult one. The violence and war crimes are startling, and Bury, being a master at his craft, effectively paints mental pictures. He doesn’t linger on vile acts, however; he isn’t gratuitous. But he is a vivid writer and skilled at choosing the right verbs and adjectives to bring his prose to life, where the reader can visualize scenes as if watching them on film. “—Elise Stokes 

“A very compelling read.”—Frederick Brooke 

You can pre-order Walking Out of War for a special price until launch day.

Walking Out of War: the countdown begins



Walking Out of War, the third book in the true story trilogy about the wartime experiences of a Canadian in the Soviet army, launches on Febraury 22—a little more than a week from now. You can pre-order it for a special price, exclusively on Amazon, and it will download to your Kindle account automatically.

In the meantime, here’s a taste:Cover-WOOW-500x800 (1)

The Red Army returns

Nastasiv, Ukraine, August 1944

Maurice stepped outside onto his mother’s front doorstep. He lit a cigarette, drew a lungful and turned his face upward. He closed his eyes to exhale and savoured the feeling of the sun on his face. It felt like the first day of peace after his nightmarish journey from Kalush.

We have to find somewhere else for Maria to stay. People will notice two extra residents in this house, and we don’t want anyone to ask questions. 

The air smelled sweet with hay and growing sugar beets. He looked out at his mother’s fields. They’re doing well, he thought. We’ll have a good crop this year. He crouched, digging his fingers into the rich black soil. He pulled a few weeds out from between the beets.

He stood again, leaned against the fence and closed his eyes. How much longer will this war last? Germany lost the war in 1941, when they stopped outside Moscow and Leningrad. Now they’re gone. And now, Ukraine has to fight Stalin’s USSR to be free.

The Soviets had pushed the Germans out of almost all Ukraine by the end of spring. In June 1944, they had launched Operation Bagration, which had swept the Germans out of Belarus and pushed them away from Leningrad. By August, the Red Army was on the Vistula River in Poland, and the Polish Home Army was fighting the Germans to control Warsaw. Meanwhile, the Americans, British, Free French and Canadians were penetrating deep into German-occupied France. Germany won’t just surrender, though. Hitler is too stubborn.

Maurice wondered about Ukraine’s chances of independence from the USSR. It would be a political question, he knew, dependent on the will of the countries of the West.

And Poland. A free Poland will claim western Ukraine, Russia the east.

Maybe I should go back to Canada when this is over.

Something clamped his left arm, and then something else grabbed his right. He looked up and felt cold terror when he saw the red stripes on the uniforms on the men holding him by the arms: NKVD, Stalin’s political police.

“Come with us, comrade,” said one as they pulled him toward a covered truck. They threw him in the back, where a handful of other fearful-looking young men sat on the floor under the watch of another soldier with a machine gun ready. The engine roared and the truck lurched. One of the young men fell face down as the truck jolted along.

Maurice knew what this was about. The Red Army needed more men to make up some of the incredible losses of men its victories brought.

Walking Out of War

Ukraine, 1944: After the Soviets burned the Ukrainian city of Ternopyl to the ground to crush the stubborn Nazi occupiers, they rounded up every remaining Ukrainian man around for the Red Army’s final push on Germany. Maurice Bury, Canadian citizen, Ukrainian resistance fighter and intelligence officer, is thrust once again into the death struggle between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s USSR.

Fighting across the Baltics in the autumn of 1944 is tough and bloody. Then the Red Army enters Germany, where they’re no longer liberators—they’re the long-feared Communist horde, bent on destruction, rape and revenge. The Communists are determined to wipe Nazism from the face of the earth. And the soldiers want revenge for Germany’s brutal invasion and occupation.

Maurice has determined his only way out of this hell is to survive until Nazi Germany dies, and then move home to Canada. But to do that, he’ll have to not only walk out of war, but elude Stalin’s dreaded secret police.

“Full of heart and indomitable spirit”—Joy Lorton, reader and reviewer

“A well-written and powerful read”—Elise Stokes, Goodreads

“A very compelling read.”—Frederick Brooke, Goodreads

Walking Out of War is available for pre-order now on Amazon.

Walking Out of War wraps up the trilogy



The long-awaited final volume in the trilogy recounting the wartime experiences of my father-in-law launches in e-book form on Wednesday,  February 22. You can pre-order it now from Amazon at a special discounted price.
Cover-WOOW-500x800 (1)

Walking Out of War follows up on Army of Worn Soles (2014) and Under the Nazi Heel (2016).

What’s it about?

Ukraine, 1944: After the Soviets burned the Ukrainian city of Ternopyl to the ground to crush the stubborn Nazi occupiers, they rounded up every remaining Ukrainian man around for the Red Army’s final push on Germany. Maurice Bury, Canadian citizen, Ukrainian resistance fighter and intelligence officer, is thrust once again into the death struggle between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s USSR.

Fighting across the Baltics in the autumn of 1944 is tough and bloody. Then the Red Army enters Germany, where they’re no longer liberators—they’re the long-feared Communist horde, bent on destruction, rape and revenge. The Communists are determined to wipe Nazism from the face of the earth. And the soldiers want revenge for Germany’s brutal invasion and occupation.

Maurice has determined his only way out of this hell is to survive until Nazi Germany dies, and then move home to Canada. But to do that, he’ll have to not only walk out of war, but elude Stalin’s dreaded secret police.

Pre-order for less

Walking Out of War will officially be available on Amazon on February 22 for just $2.99 for the Kindle edition. But if you order before midnight at the end of February 21, you’ll be able to get it for just $1.99.

Get it for free

If you’re willing to write an honest review (tell the world exactly what you think—no influence from me), I’ll send you an advance review copy (ARC). Just email contact@writtenword.ca and put “Walking Out of War – ARC” in the subject line, and I’ll fire back a copy as soon as I can. The only thing I ask is that you post your review on Amazon as soon as possible, and if you have a chance, post the same review on the Goodreads page.

 

Get your leash ready to walk the big dog — on Facebook



Get to more about your favourite books, characters and their authors

Sydney Rye and her big dog, Blue, are among the most popular characters in fiction today. They’re the stars of eight novels and one novella by their creator, Emily Kimelman, as well as six novellas by other authors in the Sydney Rye Kindle World — including me.

Sydney Rye has also shown up in the Jet Kindle World in Emily Kimelman’s It Takes Two. The popularity of these titles shows that readers love Sydney and Blue and can’t get enough of them.

And now’s your chance to get more. The authors in the Sydney Rye Kindle World have teamed up with Book Rhythm to bring you the Walking the Giant Dog Book Party.

Come to the Facebook book party next Monday, November 21 between 7 and 9 p.m. Eastern Time, where you can win books, gift cards and other prizes. Chat with Emily Kimelman and the other authors in the Sydney Rye Kindle World. Get to know more about Sydney, Blue, Mulberry, Dan, Merle and all your favourite characters.

Who’s going to be there?

Emily-author-photob648f-delshereegladdenJulie Gilbert 2013 (5 of 25)bev

And of course, you!

Be ready to answer some tricky Sydney Rye questions:

  • Other than Sydney, who’s your favourite character in the Sydney Rye Kindle World?
  • If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
  • What breed do you think most shares Blue’s personality?

You can post a picture of your “Blue” and win e-books and Amazon gift cards.

Come to the Facebook page now and click “Going” just under the top graphic.

See you then!

sr_unleashedWifeLine-final-smallCatalystCoverFatalInterestWOWalkSoftlyLargerNemesisCoverStrangeBehavior 600x900

Who are Sydney Rye and Blue?

Sydney Rye is a woman who remade herself — with a lot of help from Merle and Mulberry — as a strong woman, dynamic and determined person after a series of traumatic events told in the first book, Unleashed. Sydney is fit, blond with gray eyes and two distinctive scars on her face.

Blue has the body of a wolf but the size of a Great Dane, the markings of a Siberian Hustky, the long, elegant muzzle of a Collie and the instincts of a German Shepherd. Also, he has one blue eye and one brown. He’s taken a bullet for Sydney and saved her life countless other times over the course of eight books.

They appear in eight Sydney Rye novels by their creator, Emily Kimelman. Sydney and Blue also appear in Emily’s JET Kindle World novella, It Takes Two.

 

Paradise Down: The #LeiCrimeKW blog tour



A new crop of Lei Crime Kindle World books are coming your way through June, culminating in a big Facebook party on June 27. Paradise Down is D.B. McNicol’s first Lei Crime novella.

By D.B. McNicol

Paradise Down by D.B. NcNicol

Paradise Down by D.B. NcNicol

“What a great day. Thanks for being a such great guide, Jared. Diving Hawaii was even better than we expected. We will be calling you tomorrow to book again before we head home.”

Jared waved the clients off and walked up to the shop, thinking this was the strangest vacation he’d ever had. He was glad he’d taken two weeks or he would have had to desert Lucia before she was squared away.

Lucia. She is so sweet and so cute. He then recounted the reasons he wasn’t interested in her. One, she’s too young. Two, I have to go back to Maui and she will go to the university in Honolulu. Three, no responsibilities! Oh, and four, she’s like my kid sister.

He laughed at himself. At least he was here to help her now. He dropped his gear by the front door and enjoyed the sound of the chimes as he stepped inside. The first thing he saw was a big brown dog in front of him, growling. The second thing he saw was everything had been trashed. Someone had vandalized the shop. His head spun around, searching. “Lucia? Where are you? Damn it! Answer me!”

The dog stopped growling and whimpered. “What’s up, pup? Do you know where she is?” He took a step forward, watching for any signs of aggression from the dog. Nothing. He took another step, and another and then he saw her, laying unconscious on the floor.

“Shit! Lucia, it’s me. Jared.” He felt for a pulse and noticed the blood pooling under her head. “Hang on, help is coming.” He ran to the front porch, pulled his cell out of his dry bag and dialed 9-1-1.

“We need an ambulance and police to Dave’s Deep Dive, Anini Beach. The shop was vandalized and the owner is unconscious and bleeding from the head. This is Jared Stevens from the Maui Fire Department. I’m going to try to stop the bleeding. My cell will be beside me.” He clicked off, pulled his first aid kit out of his bag and went back inside.

The dog had lain down beside Lucia, head between its paws, but still watching every move Jared made. “It’s okay. Help is coming.” He found the source of the blood and used gauze pads for compression. The pup whimpered again. “It’s okay. Head wounds always bleed a lot. I’m more worried about a concussion.” He kept talking to Lucia and the dog, straining to hear sirens in the distance. “They’ll be here soon. It won’t be long now, just hang on.”

The front door opened and he shouted out. “Back here. In the back.”

A female voice responded. “Oh my! What happened? Is she dead? I think I feel faint.”

Jared shouted, “Don’t you dare. Please go back outside and wait for the ambulance and police. They should be here any minute.”

“Oh.” With that, she tottered back outside.

Jared looked at the dog. “Well, that was a big help, wasn’t it.” All he got in return was a whimper.

Sitting on the floor beside Lucia, Jared reflected on the damage around him. Who could have done this? And why? It made no sense. First her brother disappears and now this.

The dog perked up and gave a bark. “What, do you hear something.” Another bark and then Jared heard the sirens. “It’s about time.”

About Paradise Down

Aloha Nicholás!  But will this be a hello or a goodbye?

When Lucia Santerez returns home to Hawaii to help her brother Nicholás with his new dive shop, she learns Nicholás has disappeared–and someone doesn’t want him found.

Enlisting the aid of hunky vacationing firefighter, Jared Stevens, gets them the wrong kind of attention. They discover what lies under the water off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Kaua`i could make you rich or get you killed.

You can find Paradise Down exclusively on Amazon, as part of the Lei Crime Kindle World.

There are a lot more new Lei Crime Kindle World releases this month, and it’s all building up to a huge party on Facebook on June 27 with hundreds of dollars in prizes.

LCKW-party-2016

About the author

I think I was destined to be a writer – in the 4th grade I took my toy typewriter and painstakingly typed out the neighborhood news, one copy at a time, and sold it to the neighbors for ten cents each. But as often happens, life intervenes and writing took a back seat to spending 30+ years in the IT industry.

A late in life lover of adventure, I learned to ride a motorcycle at age 55, traveled the US solo on my Harley-Davidson at age 58 (42 states and 27k miles), selling my home and everything I owned to become a full-time RVer. I eventually met my current husband, also widowed, a full-time RVer and Harley rider. Fate!

We traveled the US for several years before putting it in storage and moving to Cuenca, Ecuador for two years. What at adventure! Now we are back and continue to travel in our 41′ fifth wheel toy hauler trailer.

I continue to travel and write, savoring every moment of every day!

Visit Donna’s

And follow her on Twitter @dbmcnicol.

The Road to San Pancho: The #LeiCrimeKW blog tour



A new crop of Lei Crime Kindle World books are coming your way through June, culminating in a big Facebook party on June 27. The Road to San Panco is Lynda Filler’s first Lei Crime novella; she has also written three novels in the JET Kindle World.

By Lynda Filler

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 2.35.08 PM

Excerpt

His taste in music was like his taste in women: eclectic.

Jared cranked the tunes on his custom sound system. A CD of his all-time favorites played over and over again. Eric Clapton, Janis Joplin, Bruce, Tina Turner, and yeah, he’d admit it, Donna Summers.

If you want to hang out, you’ve gotta take her out, cocaine

If you want to get down, get down on the ground, cocaine.

If you got bad news, you want to kick them blues, cocaine

When your day is done and you want to run, cocaine.

If your thing is gone, and you want to ride on, cocaine

Don’t forget this fact; you can’t get it back, cocaine.

   J.J. Cale; Eric Clapton (cover)

He’d made good time since leaving Cali. He liked to ride easy. After all he wasn’t on anyone’s clock. Months to ride, surf to find. He had some buddies in Yuma so he took the long route towards Mexico. Everything he read said stay away from certain parts of Mexico. Stay on the main highway like #8 towards Yuma. Cartel activity, kidnapping and extortion; these were dangerous times. He figured even though it was getting dark he could risk another 75 miles to Yuma.

He had a love affair with his VW Bus. When he came to think of it, she was the only woman he was ever loyal to. He’d reconditioned her perfectly. Even the custom paint job, desert sand top half and pale cactus green bottom, totally laid back sixties feel. Not that he was in love with that era or any era. The American Dream was an American nightmare as far as he was concerned. 

He needed this trip to wipe his mother from his mind. He couldn’t save her from herself. And she’d been dragging him down with her. She was lost in an alcoholic haze and he had to move on. His father died when he was fourteen and she was already alcohol dependent but she’d gone further down that road to total oblivion. He’d tried to get her into rehab but there was no way. When his dad was alive, he had one parent he could count on. Now he had none. Fourteen years since dad passed, he needed to move on.

His brother Michael had left years ago and was making a life for himself in Hawaii. Good for him. Maybe one day Jared would join him. But now was not that time.

He yawned. Fatigue was setting in. His eyes wandered off the white line to a dying flare on the gravel. Two vehicles were pulled over to the side. He could make out a small child or woman faced by two hulking brutes. Was that a gun she was holding? 

Jared slammed his foot down. His bus screeched to a stop.

About The Road to San Pancho

Hot on the heels of JET: Ultimatum, a fast-paced thriller suspense novella on Amazon Kindle Worlds, author Lynda Filler introduces The Road to San Pancho, a Lei Crime Kindle World novella.

In the author’s tradition, this engaging novel takes the reader on a compelling journey through the eyes and heart of young Peace, a tiny but feisty, red-haired college grad with alluring chocolate brown eyes.

Ruggedly handsome, ripped and sun-bronzed Jared Stevens, a firefighter on vacation with surf board in tow, happens upon Peace along the interstate, pulled over with apparent car troubles and being accosted by two drunk and disorderly roadies looking for more than just a good time.

Teary-eyed and heart torn, Peace steps away from life in coastal California on a dangerous quest that takes her down ominous highways to the eventual coastal splendor of San Pancho, Mexico. Suffering the heartache of the recent passing of her beloved mother, Peace is determined to find the father she never knew.

Together with her newfound friend Jared, who she would affectionately nickname “Rock,” their travels take them deep into the breathtaking, rugged beauty of mountainous, lush coastal Mexico with its radical tumbling surf, perfect for their passion of surfing the waves. Peace begins to experience life and new discoveries she never would have imagined possible.

Could her Mexican father possibly be found in this place of seeming paradise yet teaming with the omnipresent dark elements of drug cartels, corruption and murder? She finds solace in the stroking of a green-eyed dolphin pendant hanging on a necklace her mother had worn a lifetime long. Tearful memories drive her determination to press on. What perils await them on The Road to San Pancho? What purpose brought her and Jared together on the open highway to a Mexican border beyond the distant, sun-drenched horizon before them?

Find it exclusively on Amazon.

About the author

“The author’s style is reminiscent of Clive Cussler, Lee Childs or Baldacci.”— N. Huff

Lynda Filler makes her home in sultry Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and writes both poetry and fiction. She’s been accused of writing autobiographical stories, but so far no can get her to admit it! She’s been writing her whole life but only started publishing with the encouragement of NYT/USA Best Selling author Russell Blake of the popular JET series. When she is not in Mexico, she travels to the Pacific Northwest or Paris, France to visit her children. She loves to hear from her fans on FaceBook where you can find book news, crazy fun quotes, and photographs of both Mexico and Lynda’s travels.

Find her books on Amazon:

You can find Lynda Filler on Twitter @LyndaMFiller and Facebook.

 

Undrastormur: An independent book review



The best children’s books are those that also appeal to adults, and they do that by presenting characters with elements that readers of all ages can recognize in themselves.

Undrastormur: A Viking Tale of Troublesome Trolls by Roger Eschbacher is one of those books. It continues the author’s oeuvre of middle-grade books based on ancient northern European mythology, started in Dragonfriend and Giant Killer.

The story

Undrastormur is the Storm of Wonder, unleashed by a special spell to the thunder god, Thor. The story begins when young Eirik wakes up before dawn one morning, feeling extra hungry, so he goes out into the forest to find mushrooms. Because he’s away from his Norse village, he avoids an attack by giant, horrible trolls who mysteriously are not deterred by sunlight. Terrified, he hides in a cave too small for trolls to get into. There, he finds part of his grandfather’s staff, a weapon that when whole can call down the Undrastormur, the storm that will destroy the trolls and save the village.

But there’s a problem, explained by the guardian spirit, Bruun: the staff is broken and will not work until its two halves are joined together again, and the other half is in Nilfheim, the Norse underworld, a cold, dark land of despair beneath the roots of Yggdrasil, the world tree.

Bruun explains that Eirik has inherited his grandfather’s magical properties, which is why he can communicate with a guardian spirit and survive the trip to Nilfheim. Taking his grandfather’s talisman so that he can return to his own world—after surviving an encounter with the trolls and escaping—Eirik goes to Nilfheim, where he meets a girl. It turns out that Astrid had also been sent to find Eirik’s grandfather’s staff, but had been stymied when the staff had been taken by a monster of Niflheim.

And here is the challenge: Eirik must learn to trust Astrid and work with her to defeat the monster, return to Earth, and then use the restored full staff to defeat the trolls.

Sure, it’s based on that trope of a young man, or teenager who inherits special properties that make him the only hope of his people—but hey, this is a fantasy, based on ancient mythology. It works.

Characters

One of Eschbacher’s main strengths as an author is his ability to show us interesting and believable characters. We can recognize in them people that we all know. Old Aesa, a tough old lady of the village, is my favourite. She reminds me of some of my relatives in her no-nonsense talking manner and her delight in shocking young people.

Eirik and Astrid are believable young people. Eirik is often terrified, but knowing that he’s the only hope for the village, embarks on his adventure anyway. Astrid is a strong, smart and able young woman who has learned how to survive. Even Bruun, the household spirit, is funny and interesting.

And the trolls are great: huge, ugly, disgusting, dim-witted and very funny.

Wonderful for adults & kids

Undrastormur is a lot of fun for the middle grade set: humour, grisly, messy deaths at the hands of hideous and amusingly stupid trolls, magic and resourceful young people finding the solution to problems that freeze grown-up hearts.

140d6-roger-portrait-small_dsc00275editAs an author, Eshcbacher, is a true professional. He’s written a number of children’s books and works in Hollywood as a writer for children’s programs. So of course, Undrastormur has obviously been professionally edited and produced, and has a professionally designed cover.

It’s a book that’s aimed at children, but with a solid story, fully developed characters, lots of humour and a surprising twist at the end, like the best of all art for children, it’s a book that adults can enjoy, too. I just wish it had been longer.

You can get it on Amazon.

5*

Dogs, travel and Kindle Worlds: An interview with author Emily Kimelman



Emily-author-photo
The newest Kindle World, the Sydney Rye Universe, launched with new titles from seven authors, including me. This week I thought it would be great to give readers more insight into it through the creator of Sydney Rye, Blue, Mulberry and Bobby Maxim: Emily Kimelman.

Emily Kimelman was born in Philadelphia, the daughter of a correspondent for the Philadelphia Enquirer. Her family moved to Texas within weeks of her birth, and then two years later to Moscow, from which come her earliest memories. She studied the history of forensic science at New York University. She published her first mystery novel featuring Sydney Rye and Blue, Unleashed in 2011. The seventh novel in the series is Shadow Harvest, and it came out in August 2015.

Late that year, Amazon contacted Emily about launching a Sydney Rye Kindle World, a project that allows writers to contribute works to established series. I was honoured when Emily asked me if I would be one of the first to write for the Sydney Rye Universe, and I jumped at the chance to write my second novella featuring Van Freeman and Earl LeBrun from Jet: Stealth. It’s called The Wife Line, and you can read a sample on this blog and another on Emily’s.

Emily corresponded to me for this interview from upstate New York, where she lives with her family and her dog, Kinsey.

When did you first get the idea for Sydney Rye and Blue? Why did you decide on a human-canine team of crime-fighters?

I was working as a dog walker on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and it was the weirdest job because I had access to all these people’s apartments but we’d never met. As a voracious mystery reader, I recognized this as a great set-up for an amateur detective. Since I love dogs (it’s hard to be a professional walker if you’re not super into them :)) I figured I needed a dog side kick for my detective. At the time I had a giant wolf-dog named Nova who had one brown eye and one blue. He became the model for Blue.

Is the Joy Humboldt character based on you or someone else you know?

Joy Humbolt is a lot like me when I was younger. She is braver and tougher but we are a lot alike. My mother leaves me messages when reading my books like: “Don’t you go down in that tunnel. What are you crazy!”

Do you have a dog? What kind?

I have a Spanish Water Dog named Kinsey, after Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone. She is adorable and bad to the bone as any good dog should be.

Where do your characters come from? Do you base them on specific people you know? Or are they created fresh in your mind?

It’s a mix. Sometimes characters pop into my mind fully formed and start running around messing stuff up. Other times I’ll meet someone who has a way about them that feels exciting or entertaining. My husband always warns people that they might end up in one of my books.

Some characters seem as if you created their personalities to fit critical roles to drive the plots forward, like Dan and Merle. Do you know any people like that?

Merl is based off a guy who was a regular at a bar I worked at in New York. The regular looks like Merl, talks like him, dresses like him and even had three Doberman Pinschers. However, their back stories are totally different. As far as I know, that guy wasn’t into vigilantism at all, never took heroin, nor spent time in the army. He just liked Dobermans and dressing like he was in training. When I started writing Death in the
Dark
 I didn’t have an outline and when Merl showed up, I was like, “Oh, that makes sense.”

I don’t know anyone like Dan. I don’t do outlines so I was just writing along when he showed up and from the first moment I met him I knew he was going to be very important. I liked him and he kind of felt like home to me, even though I didn’t base him off anyone. Writing is funny that way.

We know that Sydney hates Bobby Maxim, but as the books progress, he gets more and more complex. How do you feel about him?

I’m as surprised by the growth in their relationship as anyone. I didn’t see it coming. Bobby Maxim is slippery — I can’t ever seem to get a bead on him. I respect the hell out of him but I don’t trust him, not fully. However, I don’t think he’d do anything to hurt Sydney. I think he really loves her. I think she’s the only woman who has ever told him no. And he likes it.

You travel a lot, and so does Sydney. Do you enjoy writing about your own travels through Sydney’s eyes?

Yes, I love it. I love hearing her take on the places that we go.

When did you first get involved with Kindle Worlds?

When Toby Neal was offered a Kindle World for her Lei Crime Series, she asked me to be a launch author. I had heard of the KW program but never taken the time to look into it. I loved writing in her world … and not just because I took it as an excuse to fly to Maui, though that was a huge bonus. But writing in another author’s world is freeing somehow. I also loved how communal the process was. Working with a group of authors in the same world is really fun.

Your second Kindle World was, I believe, Russell Blake’s Jet. Tell me about your decision to incorporate Sydney Rye and Blue into Jet’s universe.

Toby told me she was writing for Jet and I was intrigued. Then Sean Fitzgerald, the acquisition editor for KW, called me up and asked me to write in it, explaining that I could use Sydney without loosing any rights. I had the seventh Sydney Rye novel coming out a week after the world launched, so I thought it would be a fun way to get my fans excited for Shadow Harvest.

Your own Kindle World, the Sydney Rye Universe, has just launched with seven titles from seven different authors. You invited specific authors to join. How did you select them?

I made a huge list of every author I knew and liked. Then I picked out the ones I most wanted in the launch. I based it on how professional I thought they were in terms of deadlines, if I’d read their work and liked it, and if I thought my fans would be into their other work. I wanted to keep the launch small enough that my readers could buy them all without becoming overwhelmed. I have lots more authors I want to invite to write in my world and I’m hoping by spacing out the launches it will give fans time to read them all!

The different books span quite a range. Most incorporate the authors’ previously-created characters. Mine, The Wife Line, includes Van and LeBrun from my Jet Kindle World novella. How do you feel about that? 

I wanted lots of different styles. That’s part of the fun for me as the world creator. I can never write a Sydney Rye story where she interacts with a ghost, or Van and LeBrun, or Lei (Toby’s character). It’s SO MUCH fun to read these other takes on my characters.SRKWbadge3

Will you write any more in other Kindle Worlds, such as Toby Neal’s Lei Crime world, or the Jet world?

I’m planning on another story for Toby’s world this year. I’m not sure if I’ll have time to do something with Jet, but I’m thinking about it.

When will the next Sydney Rye and Blue novel by Emily Kimelman come out?

I’m working on Sydney Rye #8 now. I’m hoping to have it out by early summer but am not making any promises at this moment. I have a six-month-old daughter who likes a lot of attention, and I like giving it to her 🙂 So I’m enjoying her babyhood because I know it will be gone in the blink of an eye. Whereas Blue and Sydney will be with me forever.

Thank you so much, Emily.

Emily Kimelman is the author of seven Sydney Rye novels, six KISS stories, a Jet Kindle World novella and a Lei Crime Kindle World novella. She is also a member of BestSelling Reads.

Visit her:

And follow her on Twitter @ejkimelman.